Hi 5lick,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Regarding your careless errors, the real question you should ask is WHY you are making silly mistakes on GRE practice exams. The reality is that there are a multitude of reasons why you may be making silly mistakes. Those reasons range from inattentive reading to messy writing to mental math mistakes. I wrote an article that discusses

those and more causes of careless errors, and how to fix those issues.

While it’s quite possible that your careless errors are due to some of the reasons I’ve mentioned, it’s also entirely possible that your careless errors are due, in some part, to a lack of GRE quant knowledge. On any GRE, you must answer difficult and convoluted math questions in a timed and pressure-filled environment, so if you don’t know GRE quant like the back of your hand, careless errors are likely, right? Take the following example:

14! is equal to which of the following?

(A) 87,178,291,200

(B) 88,180,293,207

(C) 89,181,294,209

(D) 90,000,000,003

(E) 91,114,114,114

Upon seeing this question, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Grabbing a calculator to add up the values in the expression? If you are able to quickly recognize that using the “5 x 2 pair rule” will allow you to efficiently attack the problem (see the solution below), the question becomes very basic, and you can avoid having to perform tedious calculations that are likely to result in a silly mistake.

Solution:

Notice that there is at least one (5 × 2) pair contained in the product of these numbers. It follows that the units digit must be a zero. The only number with zero as the units digit is 87,178,291,200.

Answer: A

This is just one example, but hopefully you see that by a) recognizing what the question is asking and b) properly attacking the question, your propensity to make a silly mistake greatly decreases.

Although I’m unsure of how you are currently preparing for the GRE, you need to follow a study plan that allows you to learn linearly, such that you can slowly build mastery of one GRE topic prior to moving on to the next. Within each topic, begin with the foundations and progress toward more advanced concepts. Studying in such a way ensures that you develop sound mastery of GRE quant and thus make fewer careless errors. To follow such an approach, you may consider using an online self-study course, so check out some reviews

here on GRE Prep Club.

Lastly, you may find it helpful to read this article about

how to score a 330+ on your GRE.

Please reach out with any further questions.

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